There is a lot to love about nuts and seeds—they’re packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, and are mostly easily available in the market too. They make for a great breakfast or evening snacks, especially when you’e bored of cooking. But, in addition to providing several benefits for your health such as reducing inflammation, supporting good metabolism and improving your focus, they’re superfoods for your skin and hair because of their healthy dose of micronutrients, healthy fats that promote cell regeneration. Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Pallavi Sule and nutritionist Karishma Chawla pick five nuts and seeds you should eat as beauty food.
Try almonds if you have dry, inflamed skin
“Almonds are rich in magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin E and are a good source of fibre, phosphorus and protein. Just have a handful daily for good heart health—it lowers LDL cholesterol, supports strong bones and teeth, and aids a quicker metabolism,” says Chawla.
Dr Sule adds that almonds are loaded with antioxidants too. “Oxidative damage in the body contributes to cell damage by inflammation leading to aging. Inflammation also results in skin diseases like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and hair fall,” she says. Almonds are rich in mono-saturated acids too, and are chock-full of Vitamin E, which keeps skin moisturised and balanced from the inside-out.
Grab brazil nuts if you’re struggling with brittle nails and hair
“Brazil nuts improve your focus, promote satiety and heart health, are immunity boosters, aid thyroid function, while protecting the body from oxidative damage and stress. They are an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and also provide thiamin,” says Chawla.
These energy-dense nuts are high in nutrition content and phenols too. “Selenium helps to fight the oxidative damage by increasing levels of the enzyme glutathione peroxidise,” says Dr Sule. This helps to combat the oxidative damage and reduces inflammation. Brazil nuts improve skin elasticity by keeping it hydrated and also helps to maintain healthy hair and nails because it fuels protein enzymes too.
Chia seeds are ideal for acne-prone skin
With summer at its peak, chia seeds make for an excellent coolant for your body and make them a great summer food. “Chia seeds also improve brain function and are high in fiber, magnesium and phosphorus. They aid digestion too,” says Chawla, which improve skin balance too, due to boosted gut health.
“They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, hence acting as an excellent aid to soothe the skin and aid in healing process. When applied as an ingredient in a face mask, they help reduce blemishes, reduce acne, and work as an anti-ageing agent to give healthy radiant skin,” says Dr Sule. Chia seeds are also rich in tryptophan, which is the amino acid that can help your body produce serotonin, which in turn, help you fight anxiety-induced acne.
Reach for walnuts if you’re struggling with dull skin
Walnuts don’t just improve your memory and concentration skills, they support blood sugar regulation, insulin response, and fertility, and reduce inflammation in the process. Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids and are energy dense nuts which make for a good snack. “The high levels of Vitamin B complex moisturises the skin and reduces the look of fine lines,” says Dr Sule. Have dark circles? “You could use walnut oil on the area to hydrate,” says Dr Sule.
Pumpkin seeds are ideal if you’re worried about hair fall
An excellent source of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, pumpkin seeds improve focus and boost your immunity levels. “Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of iron, protein and zinc,” says Chawla. Dr Sule suggests that you add these flat green-coloured seeds to your daily diet as they are high on proteins and polyunsaturated fatty acids. “Its high levels of squalene and Vitamin E protects the skin from UV damage and other radiations,” reveals Dr Sule.
Pumpkin seeds are great for hair growth because they are able to inhibit the enzyme responsible for slowing it down. Its anti-inflammatory effects are important too. Inflammation can interfere with signalling molecules that control the shedding process of the hair, pushing follicles into the resting phase before it needs to be.
Will biotin supplements really give you the best skin, nails and hair of your life?
Why is our skin becoming so sensitive?
10 superfoods you should eat for a healthier 2018